What I really want to know is, is it so hard to get decent entertainment for a developer event? There must be a lot of performers and artists out there willing to provide a more interesting experience than "girls dancing to loud music". I don't think I've ever been to a developer event with a jazz band, or magicians, or a contortionist with "XSLT" stenciled on their leotard. Now that'd be worth watching.
One last note, did "I'm a software developer, I'm developing for the rest of my life" creep anyone else right the hell out?
Also just to clarify: As a woman who was actually present in the room when Microsoft decided to jump the shark, I don't feel especially offended by this (with the exception of the line about Lea Verou, which is beyond creepy). As a developer, though, I'm deeply offended that someone in Microsoft's marketing department could imagine we'd go for this kind of trash. That performance speaks volumes about the developer stereotypes sales people nurture, and that is especially offensive coming from a company like Microsoft, where you'd think company culture should perhaps lean a little more towards respecting the people who create the actual value the company thrives on.
This community is overcorrecting in a bad way and starting to identify sexism where it isn't. Usually, women don't correct this assumption. Please keep doing so. I hate that the definition of the word "sexist" is starting to evolve to mean "offensive".
Some of the details I've heard described as sexist, though - like how the dancers are apparently "scantily clad" - seem to be more the result of mob rage than any form of rational thought.
Sexism is always offensive.
The assumption that developers are men is enough here, and speakers at the conference mentioned in the song have expressed surprise and distaste at their inclusion. For example, they say "Lea Verou will make your dreams come true" to which Lea noted: "I think mine tops all of them in terms of cheesiness and creepiness."
As much as it's tacky fun (much like that hack day note about having women serving beer  or the woman in her underwear promoting geek t-shirts ), it's also antagonistic, creepy, objectifies women, and reinforces an image that no-one wants or needs at a programming conference if we want to appeal to a diverse audience. Sadly, people who brush this off as OK are part of the problem but will deny this until, well, they sober up later on (said as someone who felt the issue was unimportant a couple of years ago).
I took it to mean "programming" dreams. Whatever anyone else did with that in their own mind is their problem. Is there some missing context I'm missing? Just because the other parts of the song sorta mentioned penises, vaginas and drugs, that means they MUST be talking about sex in reference to Lea? I didnt make that connection.
I'd say those parts were much more offensive than the Lea Verou line. I had no idea who Lea Verou was before this, but now I have another great female tech role model to follow.
Overall this was extremely distasteful, and I think microsoft with all their money could provide much better entertainment
But who's to say whats popular in Norway? I certainly don't know what their social norms are. But I also dont know how this conference was marketed. Was it truly a regional event?
But the dancing itself, or the idea of women(? I think there may have been some men, couldn't tell) dancers at a development conference does not make me feel objectified. The dancers were not dressed inappropriately (long sleeves and shorts? I could probably wear that at work let alone a nightclub), and the dancing was not suggestive (especially in contrast to normal club dancing). I thought the dancing was fine.
The objectification of women (and creepy behavior as an extension of that) is inherently alienating and in almost all circumstances is sexist (just by virtue of the fact that there's not a lot of folks out there creeping both women and men)
At the very least the two sets overlap heavily even if they are not synonymous.
Meaning I can't give a shit if some people get offended. If females don't show up, that is their choice.
Also, it's "women", not "females".
But if you want to discuss this issue, you have to do it in aggregate, concerning youself with the average person and what problems she statistically has. Then it makes sense to say female. She isn't a real person, just like no person actually has 2,3 kids.
It looks like a regional thing (half the world away), from a subsidiary, and was not signed off by Redmond.
People will always interject themselves into things like this, making something out of nothing, tweeting and posting about how outraged they are.
When Microsoft is involved, the narrative is to always play the victim being oppressed by a giant.
I've see worse things than this on family tv stations during the daytime.
To me this is just a dumb two or three minute skit in a 3 hour event, that will get someone fired.
Ask and ye shall receive.
Strippers and other scantily clad dancers are not unheard of at country-side funerals in Taiwan.
When I first came across this phenomenon years ago, I managed to find a thread on a mailing list (I think it was for East Asian studies) that included personal reports from researchers as well as some interesting suggestions about why they might do this. The consensus seemed to be that this was akin to how the Taiwanese might sacrifice a pack of the deceased's favorite cigarettes or a bottle of his favorite liquor at his funeral.
Such dance shows are also offered up as tribute to the deities at temple festivals. As bizarre as that is, I can't help but be amused by the thought of their gods appreciating a flagrant display of T&A. It sure turns the Hermetic motto "As above, so below" on its head, doesn't it?
> as part of a job interview
Taking a male job candidate to a strip club isn't unheard of in the US. In South Korea (and I presume other parts of East Asia), it's commonplace to go to hostess bars on the monthly hwaeshik outing with coworkers; sometimes they will continue the night at straight-up prostitution joints for sam cha. I wouldn't be surprised if job interviews were often conducted similarly to entice candidates. I know for a fact that Korean salespeople often seal deals by taking customers out for "entertainment".
To be clear, I'm not condoning any of these practices, just saying they're out there and probably more commonplace than you realize.
She also says the shorts are skimpy. Watch the video and see if you agree.
Finally people who tell me about my life based upon my gender with terms like 'male privilege' are themselves being sexist and rude.
Now we can all say that everyone needs to grow thicker skin or something, but in the end it's simply bad taste to alienate significant parts of the crowd. That being said, if I would have been there, I would have been more embarrassed at the stereotype they apparently decided to appeal to than offended, because it was so over the top stupid.
However I do have concerns for young girls who are interested in programming and technology and believe this is how women are perceived in this field. This is especially true of those who don't have a sound parental foundation or looking to define themselves.
In this day and age, I would have thought that the developer community has come to realize that sexism is out and inclusiveness is in (no, adding a "(and vaginas)" is not inclusive). We had our fun, but it significantly damaged our culture and firmly planted our female participation at 15-20%, with a female OSS contribution rate of 1.5-5%. We (I'm speaking to the straight, white males out there) are the main reason for this.
And it's not just females, either. Our frequent raunchy behavior typically focuses on heteronormative jokes, staying completely ignorant and offensive to the LGBTQ folks out there.
So here's the deal, Microsoft: you have some work to do. First, you do something about this, like fire the decision-makers involved (publicly or privately, your choice). Next, issue a real apology that goes well beyond "we're looking into this." Then, grab a crapton of money—say $3 million... $1 million for each minute of the song—and donate it to programmer-centric inclusive groups. Speaking as primarily a Rails dev, my brainstorming is biased, but here's a good list to get started: Rails Bridge, Girl Develop It, DevChix, etc. Make certain that there's no way to tie this large donation to furthering Microsoft-specific causes; you need to heal dev community at large that you just brutally damaged.
I understand this "skit" probably didn't come from Redmond, but that's the price you pay for growing to the size of Microsoft. Microsoft Redmond hired/approved the folks running the branch that did this skit. Letting Redmond skate by on this is like (and wow, I'm going to use a totally unfair comparison here... apologies) letting a mob boss off the hook because a lieutenant actually planned & performed a criminal act.
What a depressing state of affairs.
I was there to see how it worked out. The developer community reacted negatively to this.
During the show, a lot of people backed away to hide in the corners of the conference room. There was loud boo-ing throughout and after the dance. Critical tweets were being tweeted and retweeted.
The community is OK. Microsoft's marketing department are tasteless hamfisted twats.
Some of their earlier Cloud marketing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q1UgUw-4AY
And what's clueless about that Cloud ad? That's an extremely mainstream corporate ad.
The conference hall was huge. Some 30-50 meters away where I was standing, the boo-ing was quite audible, and you could see most of the attendees staying the hell away from the stage.
Also, when they were referencing the speakers, "Lea Verou will make your dreams come true" might have looked good on paper, but in this context it was just unbearably creepy. Totally agree they need to donate some millions to inclusive causes to make up for this.
How so? Not only were they not involved in this directly, they've posted their apology already and will take proper steps to make sure that even the smallest of parts in the smallest of regional events now have to get signed off on.
It's absolutely so bad that I can't even manage to be outraged by it, because it brings me to tears in laughter even just thinking about it, it's such a perfect nugget of awful.
I was actually legitimately outraged by this yesterday:
(Follow-up here: http://oomscholasticblog.com/2012/06/scholastic-responds-to-...)
I grew up in the 80s, feeling that I could do anything and be anyone I wanted to be. A scientist or a singer? I was going to be both! Also, a writer! I feel really blessed by that; but my biggest worry looking around at TV and toys and games lately is that everything's so horrifically A/B tested that any kid who feels other (due to gender, race, or other differences) is marginalized and subtly given that "you can't" message.
I don't have the data, but it really feels like we're in retrograde (like what's up with the "So simple your Mom can use it" crap? My Mom ran an ISP in the early 90s & she's an XML nerd, simple is just going to turn her off...my Grandma was on AIM before most of my friends). I'm hoping there's something we can do to stop this cruddy discouragement--we really need everyone firing on all cylinders and diversity only strengthens us.
I still feel that way - I don't think we have to chain ourselves to being 'one thing'. Teaching this to girls when they are young, especially, to hold on to all their dreams is really important so they don't give up on living full lives outside of the job/keyboard.
People watching it and saying, "OMG what a crap song, and such old-school dance moves. Don't they know developers are too cool for this?", as if that is what the problem is, just show how big the real problem is.
I'm hopeful that sexism will eventually fade out in the community.
Microsoft, GoDaddy and others, please find another way to advertise your products.
Take it in context:
• This is in Norway, a very gender-egalitarian place (but also more open to sexual topics). They have the confidence to understand – and shrug off – things that are meant as goofy jokes, even if, when forwarded to a different context for the specific purpose of triggering a reaction, some can then find offense.
• The music is definitely in the style of the (big-in-northern-Europe) band 'Scooter'. (A commenter at Geeklist implies it is Scooter, I think it's just in their style.) That style is over-the-top, self-parodying. (See for example the music video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KL5bw6Mbho which mixes the lyrics of a campy 1979 european disco hit, acid-trip religious imagery, topless revelers, rapper braggadocio, a cryptic shout-out to art/music-pranksters The KLF, and a key quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. Yes, The Little Prince!) No one familiar with the style would take any word of it more seriously than a Stephen Colbert monologue. (When Colbert in character says something 'offensive', is it really 'offensive'?)
• Even so, I've watched it twice and can't find any implication that all developers are male. The lead voice in the song is male (and speaks the 'penis' line about himself) but the chorus auto-tuned voice is vaguely feminine and the dancers seem to represent 'developers' and are (mostly?) women.
• It's in a nightclub/danceclub, kicking off the conference party. Almost certainly alcohol was being served. Topics wander a bit from the button-downed professional voice at such events... in fact that's the very reason to have such events. Crude jokes about body parts aren't for everyone, but they are likely to come up in nightclubs and in spoofy music lyrics. If they're not specifically denigrating anyone they're harmless and non-exclusionary.
The stage, btw, was in the middle of the conference venue, and this performance kicked off the conference party, just after the talks had finished for the day. The atmosphere in the room as it was happening was mostly one of embarrassed disbelief that Microsoft's PR department had apparently stereotyped the lot of us as tasteless brogrammers - with the exception of a few already drunk brogrammers clearly enjoying themselves in front of the stage.
The 'zOMG SEXISM' drum is getting beaten especially hard recently.
You can beat the drum about something people don't know, a food drive, a political issue, etc but it makes no sense to keep whingin about something that people already know and have made up their minds about.
Remember House? People don't change.
Sure they do. Last century it was okay to oppress women and blacks (and even keep the latter as slaves). Times, and people, can change radically.
That said, aside from mentioning the word "penis" in a frankly stupid song, I fail to see how this is sexist. The term is going to lose all meaning if it keeps getting bandied about by such minutiae like this and the beer thing at the California convention.
I'd love to hear more about the awkward moment that ensued when the rep got on stage and started talking, if he tried to play it off like that whole thing didn't just happen.
What's up with Scandinavia?
I didn't take it as 'sexist' so much just 'wrong'. Perhaps things are just that different in Norway? I suspect not.
Enduring that travesty would be totally analogous to hitting up one of the UK's many tacky nightclubs that host an 'electro-house' (read: trance) night every Friday and have the same monotonic 'MC' drawling all over the track.
Maybe it's fine in Norway and they love that sort of thing, but I think it'd be very difficult to reconcile the developer and trance scenes elsewhere.
I'm Lonely - Scooter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYTTSIvePSY
In some Microsoft Office, they must have had a meeting, went through the plan and said: "Yes, this is a good idea. This will get people interested in Azure. This is awesome".
In this day and age of ubiquitous cameraphones and Youtube, nobody is allowed to have fun or be brutally honest anymore. Too much risk of being recorded and then quoted out of context or scrutinized by Puritans.